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Rosati-Kain High School secures sponsor, lease to remain open as independent Catholic high school

St. Joseph Educational Ministries, established by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, will serve as the school’s canonical sponsor, and the school agreed to lease its current campus in the Central West End from the archdiocese

Rosati-Kain High School will remain open next year as an independent Catholic high school named Rosati-Kain Academy after reaching an agreement with the Archdiocese of St. Louis and securing a new canonical sponsor.

St. Joseph Educational Ministries, established by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, will serve as the all-girls school’s canonical sponsor. The archdiocese and Rosati-Kain agreed to a three-year lease of the campus in the Central West End.

Exterior shot of Rosati-Kain High School
Photo Credits: Laura Kosta
Rosati-Kain Forever, a group formed by supporters of the school in October, announced on Christmas that an agreement had been reached. At a press conference Jan. 6, Cynthia Goudy, a 2003 alumna of the school and board chair of Rosati-Kain Academy, said the group will now “turn our attention from crisis management to long-term sustainability.”

“Working together, we are confident in shaping a strong and bright future fueled by your support and the backbone of our alumae, school community and others in the region who cannot imagine the city of St. Louis without Rosati-Kain,” Goudy said.

The archdiocese announced in September that it would close Rosati-Kain High School and St. Mary’s High School at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Archdiocesan leaders had examined the eight archdiocesan high schools, taking into account factors including enrollment trends, the financial health of the schools and school building capacity and condition. Rosati-Kain’s enrollment dropped to 187 students this year, down from 249 in 2021-22; the freshman class numbers in the 30s. The school also received assistance from the archdiocese to meet its operating costs.

St. Mary’s High School announced in December that it, too, will remain open next year as an independent Catholic high school under the sponsorship of the Society of Mary (Marianists), taking the new name St. Mary’s South Side Catholic High School.

Rosati-Kain Academy’s operating budget for the 2023-24 school year is currently 65 percent funded, Goudy said. A main priority moving forward is keeping the school affordable to families; tuition for the 2022-23 school year is $13,500, with more than half of students receiving some form of financial assistance.

Another “cornerstone” of the financial model is raising teacher pay over the next few years to be more comparable to private Catholic schools in St. Louis and eventually, more equitable with area public school salaries, Goudy said.

Goudy is now taking the position of interim president of Rosati-Kain Academy while the search for the school’s first president is underway, said Michelle Martin Bonner, the next board chair of Rosati-Kain Academy, at the news conference. Goudy will work alongside Elizabeth Ann Goodwin, the current president of Rosati-Kain High School, as the school transitions from an archdiocesan high school to an independent high school, Martin Bonner said.

Cynthia Goudy, former board chair and new interim president of Rosati-Kain Academy, speaks at a news conference Jan. 6 at Rosati-Kain High School.
Photo Credits: Laura Kosta
“We have a remarkable legacy to continue, which is why Rosati-Kain will rise and continue to be a beacon of light, and we will be the place for young women scholars to discover their strengths, identities, gifts and talents go out into the world and make it a better place,” Martin Bonner said. “From a Catholic and Christ-centered place, we will continue to build on our foundation of faith, diversity, inclusion and education for young scholars to strive for excellence.”

Rosati-Kain High School has long ties to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, going back to the school’s founding in 1911 by that order and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet continued to teach at Rosati-Kain for decades, though none remain there now.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet established St. Joseph Educational Ministries (SJEM) in 2021 to serve as the “ministerial public juridic person,” or Vatican-approved canonical sponsor responsible for the Catholic identity of their institutions. SJEM, made up of both lay and consecrated religious members, sponsors St. Joseph’s Academy, Fontbonne University and St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, and St. Teresa’s Academy and Avila University in Kansas City.

Rosati-Kain Academy is a “natural addition” to the SJEM-sponsored community, said Sister Rita Schmitz, CSJ, vice chair of SJEM.

Sister Rita noted Rosati-Kain’s “Catholic, CSJ and social history; its tremendous and celebrated diversity; its committed faculty and staff; and its core values of knowledge, virtue, humility and love.”

“As you begin, we walk with you and stand ready to support and guide you so that all you endeavor and all you accomplish is blessed by God’s grace and bears good fruit,” Sister Rita said.

The archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education and Formation was glad to come to an agreement with Rosati-Kain and SJEM, said Todd Sweda, senior director of the Office of Education and Formation and superintendent for secondary education.

“We are pleased that members of St. Joseph Educational Ministries, with the blessing of the St. Louis Province Leadership of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, have approved a request by the newly formed Rosati-Kain Academy to become the school’s canonical sponsor,” Sweda said.

Sarah Morris, a Rosati-Kain English, fine arts and practical arts teacher, and juniors Talor Williams and Vanessa Kleen also spoke at the news conference, expressing their gratitude to be able to continue at Rosati-Kain Academy next year.

“When I first visited Rosati-Kain, I knew this was my school. I saw how students interacted with each other, and I knew this was where I could find my voice,” Vanessa said. “I’m thrilled to know I’ll finish my high school career right where I belong.”

Sister Barbara Moore, CSJ, a 1955 graduate of Rosati-Kain and a member of SJEM, attended the news conference to show her support.

“I loved every day here — I can honestly say that. And I’m so pleased they found a way to continue the excellence,” she said. “There were few of us of color here at that time, but I can’t say enough about how much I loved it. Being here in the center of the city, with the diversity and excellence — we need to keep that here.”

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